Breadcrumbs

Laptops

Overview

Students in Grades 5 and 6 are issued a school-owned Apple laptop to use within the grounds of the school. Grade 5 and 6 laptops do not go home. Students in Grades 7 and 8 are issued a school-owned Apple laptop in the fall to use in school and at home; they are responsible for that laptop until they return it at the end of the academic year. Students are able to print in school, but Grade 7 and 8 students are encouraged to print most of their work at home; the laptops will connect to most home printers without the need for any additional software. Grade 7 and 8 students are given one charger which should be left at home so that the laptop can be charged each night.

Why a 1-1 laptop program?

A 1-1 laptop program:

  • Allows teachers to follow best practice; assignments and projects can be designed and implemented within in the framework of the curriculum, not based on whether a lab is available or whether a particular piece of software is installed on home computers.
  • Encourages more individualized learning; lessons are student-centered. Since students don’t have to share resources when brainstorming, researching, writing, editing, and publishing using their laptop, students are free to explore a variety of directions without being restricted by the interests and ability levels of their peers.
  • Allows for more communication and in greater detail (student-to-student, as well as student-to-teacher). With the various resources provided on campus, students can interact with each other and their teachers in and out of class in discussion forums, wikis, blogs, and emails. Person-to-person interaction is still of primary importance, but online communication enhances it.
  • Allows learning to continue after the class block is over. All students learn at different paces, and some need more than the allotted class time to digest or respond to what they are learning. Others are so interested in a topic that they don’t want to stop researching or discussing when class is over. Having access to their own laptop allows students to continue at their own pace or at their own interest level.
  • Enables students to focus on the skills and content of the class. Without a laptop program, students would have to transport files from a school computer to a home computer; but USB sticks can get lost, file formats aren’t always compatible, and some software is “Mac only” or “Windows only.” As projects become more multimedia intensive (photos, music, movies, and podcasts), transferring files via the Internet is becoming less of an option, despite broadband being so widespread (upload speeds from the home just don’t support the volume and file structure needed for multimedia project work).

Computers enhance the important skills already developed through ASL’s curriculum: research, analysis, organization, note-taking, communication, presentation and creative expression.

Grade 5&6 FAQs

Will the laptops be used every day in every class?

ASL supports effective use of technology, not use of technology for technology’s sake. Consequently, the type and frequency of use will vary based on the curriculum, the teacher, and the student. The laptop will be used when it is the appropriate learning tool for a lesson or activity.

What software will be on the laptop?

Much of the writing students do in Grade 5 and 6 is done using GoogleDocs, so students can easily access their work on their school laptop or a home computer. For other projects, in addition to Apple’s suite of multimedia software (iTunes, Photos, iMovie, and GarageBand), the laptops will also have educational applications as chosen by the teachers including Inspiration, Lego Mindstorms (robotics), and Dill (language lab software).

Can students install their own software?

Laptops are school-owned computers for school-related use. Because the school owns the laptops, only software licensed by the school can be installed. Students won’t be allowed to install their own software, even if they own licenses for it.

What about free software that can be downloaded from the Internet?

Students are standard users on their laptops, which means that they won’t be able to do anything that requires an administrative password.

How should my child be backing up his or her data?

Grade 5 and 6 students will be making use of GoogleDrive to both back-up all of their files and as a way to access files at home. If students create multimedia projects that are too big to be stored on GoogleDrive, they will be encouraged to back up that work to a personal external hard drive or USB thumb drive.

How effective are the laptop batteries?

Since Grade 5 and 6 laptops get charged during the day whenever they are stored in their cabinets, they shouldn't need to be charged during class time. In the event that a laptop does need to be plugged in during a class, chargers are available from the grade-level aides or the technology staff.

What about laptop security at school?

Although ASL is a safe environment, students are told that they must always have their laptop in their possession or keep it locked in their locker.

As a parent, can I access your email system and my child’s email account?

ASL uses Gmail for students and faculty. Parents do not have ASL Gmail accounts. If you want or need to access your child’s account, you may ask your child for his/her password.

What aspects will students learn about technology?

In addition to using the computers as part of their daily educational program, students will learn about technology. They will practice the importance of using passwords, safe file storage, careful use of equipment and back-up and file naming strategies. They will learn about making good judgments when it comes to what they say in emails and what web sites they visit. They will be operating in an environment where privacy is respected and required.

Do you teach keyboarding?

Keyboarding is taught in the Lower School and in the Middle School as part of the Grade 5 Library / Technology class that meets once every eight days in the cycle. In Grade 6, keyboarding may be addressed during Flex or Advisory time. ASL uses Typing Club, which is a web-based program that can be used at school and at home. Any practice that students do at home will build upon work done in school.

Does ASL filter its Internet connection?

ASL does filter the Internet connection used at the school, blocking the categories of pornography, malware, phishing-and-other-frauds, hacking, proxy-avoidance-and-anonymizers, and online-gambling.

Does ASL check my child’s Internet history?

ASL does spot checks of student browsing histories on a regular basis. If inappropriate sites are indicated, parents will be contacted. Students who inadvertently access an inappropriate site are advised to inform their parents and the MS Technology Coordinator, who will check and then clear the history. Students are able to delete browsing histories, but they are warned in advance that a blank history is a red flag that suggests misuse and will be followed up.

How is ASL addressing the issue of cyber-bullying?

In grade 5, the Library / Tech class has several Digital Citizenship lessons throughout the year; in Grade 6 Digital Citizenship is covered in advisory throughout the year. Health classes in all four middle school grades focus on issues of safety on the Internet as well as social interaction in person and online.

What if I have a question about the program that is not answered here?

Parents may contact the Middle School Technology Coordinator, Colin Bridgewater, 020 7449-1442.

For repair / maintenance enquiries, parents may contact the Middle School Laptop Coordinator, Simon Plissi, 020 7449-1249.

Grade 7&8 FAQs

What is in the package?

Currently, ASL provides a 13 inch Apple MacBook Air, one charger, and a protective laptop case. In addition, each student will be given a 500 GB external hard drive when he or she enters the program so that he or she can back up his or her files. The external hard drive remains the property of the student even when s/he leaves the laptop program.

One aspect of this program is that the laptop setup and support becomes a non-issue and that the laptop is used effectively and easily in the pursuit of education. To meet this goal, the package includes the laptop, maintenance contract, software, initial and ongoing support, labeling for security purposes, and wireless network infrastructure and servers. This will ensure that the laptop can be supported by the Technology Team efficiently. ASL will maintain loaner laptops for students whose machines need to be sent away for repair.

What if I already have a Mac or Windows computer at home?

Even if a family already has a Mac or Windows computer at home, the key to our program is that the student has his or her own laptop and that the laptop is set up and maintained by the school with specific programs chosen by educators. This way each student has his or her own tool that can be used at school and at home, and is always available to them.

Do I have a choice in participating?

No. This is part of the educational program requirements of Grade 7 and 8 in the middle school.

How does a family pay for the laptop?

The cost of the laptop program is included as part of tuition.

Why school-owned, rather than student-owned laptops?

A significant problem in many laptop programs is that the laptops become older and less capable as the students become older and more capable. To have a program that progressively builds on the strengths and abilities of students, it is best if students move toward using newer and more capable systems.

Thus, new laptops are given to Grade 8 students each year, and then that one-year-old set of laptops moves to the Grade 7 students the following year. After two years of use, the laptop set is used by Grade 6 and then Grade 5 for in-school use. That way, students in the middle school can always look forward to using newer laptops as they move up through the grades.

Under this model, tech support is less of an issue and, for the most part, not the responsibility of the parents. If a student laptop has technical problems, it will either get fixed on the same day or a loaner will be issued by the school. With a 1-1 laptop program, dealing with tech support for a broken computer is a stress and responsibility that parents don’t have to worry about.

Will the laptops be used every day in every class?

ASL supports effective use of technology, not use of technology for technology’s sake. Consequently, the type and frequency of use will vary based on the curriculum, the teacher, and the student. The laptop will be used when it is the appropriate learning tool for a lesson or activity. Laptops are used frequently enough to necessitate students’ bringing the laptop to school daily.

What software will be on the laptop?

In addition to Apple’s suite of multimedia software (iTunes, Photos, iMovie, and GarageBand), the laptops will also have educational applications as chosen by the teachers including Keynote, Inspiration, Evernote, ComicLife, and Dill (language lab software). Grade 7 and 8 students will also use G-Suite applications (Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms) for individual and collaborative work.

Can students install their own software?

Laptops are school-owned computers for school-related use. Because the school owns the laptops, only software licensed by the school can be installed. Students won’t be allowed to install their own software, even if they own licenses for it.

What about free software that can be downloaded from the Internet?

Students are standard users on their laptops, which means that they won’t be able to do anything that requires an administrative password.

What happens if the laptop is stolen or damaged?

ASL has a “shared responsibility” program in that all non-warranty repairs to laptops under £100 will be covered by ASL, but repairs over £100 will be shared 50/50 with families. Hardware failures not caused by accidental damage are always covered by the Apple warranties.

An example would be the total loss or theft of a laptop, resulting in a £1,000 replacement cost, of which ASL will cover £500 and the family £500. For deliberate or repeated loss or damage, which is very rare, ASL will pass all costs to the family.

This “shared responsibility” plan is important to the program, and it reinforces how the laptop program is a three-way partnership between the school, students and parents. Other schools have tried “no responsibility” plans for school laptops, but they lead to much higher rates of damage and related problems

How should my child be backing up his or her data?

Students will be taught how to back-up their work as part of good operating practices so that data loss will be at a minimum in the event of damage or loss of the laptop. Grade 7 students (and students new to ASL in Grade 8) will be provided with an external drive to back-up their data. Students will be shown how to enable Time Machine so that automatic back-ups are done to the external hard drive each time it is plugged in.

How effective are the laptop batteries?

Grade 7 and 8 laptops should be able to make it through the day without needing to be plugged in as long as they have been fully charged the night before. In the event that any laptop does need to be plugged in during a class, chargers are available from the grade-level aides or the technology staff.

What about laptop security at school?

Although ASL is a safe environment, students are told that they must always have their laptop in their possession or keep it locked in their locker.

As a parent, can I access your email system and my child’s email account?

ASL uses Gmail for students and faculty. Parents do not have school Gmail email accounts. If you want or need to access your child’s account, you may ask your child for his/her password.

What aspects will students learn about technology?

In addition to using the computers as part of their daily educational program, students will learn about technology. They will practice the importance of using passwords, safe file storage, careful use of equipment and back-up and file naming strategies. They will learn about making good judgments when it comes to what they say in emails and what web sites they visit. They will be operating in an environment where privacy is respected and required.

Do you teach keyboarding?

Keyboarding is taught in the Lower School and in the Middle School as part of the Grade 5 Library / Technology class that meets once every eight days in the cycle. In Grades 6, 7, and 8, keyboarding may be addressed during Flex or Advisory time. ASL uses Typing Club, which is a web-based program that can be used at school and at home. 

Any practice that students do at home will build upon work done in school.

Does ASL filter its Internet connection?

ASL does filter the Internet connection used at the school, blocking the categories of pornography, malware, phishing-and-other-frauds, hacking, proxy-avoidance-and-anonymizers, and online-gambling.

Does ASL check my child’s Internet history?

ASL does spot checks of student browsing histories on a regular basis. If inappropriate sites are indicated, parents will be contacted. Students who inadvertently access an inappropriate site are advised to inform their parents and the MS Technology Coordinator, who will check and then clear the history. Students are able to delete browsing histories, but they are warned in advance that a blank history is a red flag that suggests misuse and will be followed up.

How is ASL addressing the issue of cyber-bullying?

In grade 5, the Library / Tech class has units throughout the year on Digital Citizenship, and in Grades 6, 7, and 8, the topic is covered in advisory throughout the year. Health classes in all four middle school grades focus on issues of safety on the Internet as well as social interaction in person and online.

How do I connect my child’s laptop to our home printer? I need an administrative password in order to install the drivers that came with our printer.

There are already hundreds of printer drivers installed on your child’s laptop. So, there is a good chance that your child’s laptop will be able to print to your home printer without needing any additional software installed. However, if you have tried to print at home and have discovered that additional drivers need to be installed, please contact the Middle School Laptop Coordinator Simon Plissi for help.

How does my child print at school?

Students will be encouraged to do most of their printing at home. However, there will be times when students will need to be able to print in school, so they have wireless access to multi-function printers that are located in strategic areas of the School.

How do I protect my child’s laptop at home from viruses?

ASL laptops have anti-virus software installed which works both at school and at home.

How do I make sure my child is not accessing inappropriate websites and wasting time playing games, IMing, and using social networking sites at home?

It is recommended that your child use his/her laptop in a public area of the home and not in a closed room. Honest discussions with your child about the Internet and other uses of technology are recommended. Although blocking websites is not a foolproof method to stop students from accessing inappropriate websites, we can install Qustodio on student laptops on request.

What if I have a question about the program that is not answered here?

Parents may contact the Middle School Technology Coordinator, Colin Bridgewater, 020 7449-1442.

For repair / maintenance enquiries, parents may contact the Middle School Laptop Coordinator, Simon Plissi, 020 7449-1249.